Originally published on 11 January 2021
I wrote last week of a hopeful and optimistic vision for 2021, and yet, things played out quite the opposite, didn’t they?
Needless to say, last week was filled with its fair share of distractions—enough to crush any ounce of hope and optimism we’ve been able to muster.
But then again, at times like these I am reminded of Viktor Frankl and his words in Man’s Search for Meaning:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
It’s frustrating to watch world events unfurl from our screens. We feel helpless and small.
Those who attacked the Capitol may have stolen our peace of mind but they haven’t taken our attitude.
Our attitude towards life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Frankl reminds us, is still our own to choose.
No one, not even a mob can take that from us.
After a week of darkness, let’s hold onto our hope—together—and continue to build a prosperous and peaceful world, for all.
As always, thank you for reading. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during these difficult times.
Here’s what I managed to learn this week.
Chess is a complicated game with a simple goal
Like many people, my love of chess was rekindled after watching Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit late last year.
My wife and I (and our 5 year old son) soon were all playing each other daily, watching YouTube videos of strategy and tactics, and playing other avid players around the world (thank you chess.com).
Chess is a relatively easy game to learn. Each side has 6 unique pieces, 32 in total, across 64 black and white squares. Each piece may move a certain way. Whoever captures the King first, wins. That’s it.
However, the more I studied and filled my head with tactics the more I lost.
I felt like I was learning how to play better, but when it came time to play a real game, my brain clogged up.
The cycle continued as I watched more and more videos, trying to gain an edge. But I kept losing.
And then it occurred to me: Chess has one goal, capture the King.
Yes there are fancy tactics and strategy and theory, but if you’re not focused on the main objective, you will lose.
I cannot stress enough how much my chess game parallels my actual real life. I all too often get distracted by the how instead of focusing on the what.
But like chess, I’m slowly learning to focus on the main goal. And for me, that goal is to become a published author.
I’ll leave it at that for now.
First five chapters of my book
It’s been over two months since I’ve launched Contentment in Chaos which sums up my chaotic personal learning journey of 2020.
- I finally learned to properly budget (more on that soon)
- I got in the best shape of my life
- I let go of needless expectations and set forward on a path I wanted
If you haven’t read the book, you can purchase a copy here. (And if you have read it, could you leave an honest review on Amazon?)
Or you can download the first five chapters for free here.
Why am I giving away the first five chapters for free? Well, while we’ve all grown accustomed to buying books online, I still prefer strolling through used book stores—touching, flipping, and skimming through books before making a decision whether or not to buy one.
Usually all I need are the first few pages to make a decision.
So if you haven’t purchased a copy yet, I’ll let the first few pages do the talking.
I’ve dreamed all year of writing this post
I mentioned in last week’s newsletter how we are finally credit card debt free after paying off $14,383.15 in 366 days.
All year I dreamed of the day when I could finally write down how we did it.
That day finally came and what flowed forth was the easiest 2,500 words I’ve ever written:
How I Paid Off $14,383.15 of Credit Card Debt in 366 Days
I am beyond proud of this one.
I believe at the core of any major life goals are small behavior changes that compound over time.
This article highlights those small behavior changes that allowed us to destroy this debt once and for all.
Give it a read and share it around if you found it helpful!
This newsletter was a bit more self-promotional than I promised it would be.
However, like I mentioned at the beginning, we have the freedom to choose our attitude and my attitude for this year is hope and optimism.
In June I will pass 4 years of self-employment and I can honestly say I feel like I’m finally getting into the groove. I’m finally figuring out what I want to do.
Because of that, I have to learn to be more confident in the things I make and not be afraid to promote them while also respecting your time and attention.
All of this is to say, I’m grateful you are here, with me, for the journey ahead.
Until next week,